Writing Retreats

For my birthday present last year, my daughter gave me a weekend away at a hotel in my own town. It felt a little funny packing a suitcase and driving across town to spend the night, but her thought was that I could have uninterrupted writing time—a little mini-writer’s retreat all my own.

I have to say, it worked. First, there’s something comforting about having a weekend away in your own town. You don’t have to worry about forgetting something when you pack. If you do, you can just run home to get it. And you know where everything is—the best stores and restaurants—so you don’t need to worry about getting lost, getting ripped off, or getting a bad meal. And even though I was only across town and knew I could go home if I had to, I didn’t want to. It really felt like I was on vacation. The hotel was a family resort. There was an indoor pool, a game room, and a tavern. They had a fire pit on Friday night and I had a view of the bay during the day. It was quite lovely. And relaxing. But also productive.

Because my daughter’s intent was that I have uninterrupted writing time, she guilted me into actually using the time for writing. I spent Friday night and Saturday morning at my laptop diligently working on the current project. I invited guests to use the pool with me Saturday afternoon—I wanted to enjoy the benefits of staying at the resort—but Saturday night I was back at work. I had a final session Sunday morning before checking out.

I have heard of writers who check into a hotel for a weekend to meet a deadline. I had a romanticized view of it—something I’d do someday when I hit it big. But even a writer at my level can benefit from a weekend away to write.

This weekend I am at a different kind of writing retreat. Rather than sequestering myself in a hotel room to write, I am sharing a room with a fellow writer. The hotel is full of writers as we share a weekend of workshops and conversation and creative activities to get our imaginations going. We talk about what we are working on and share tips and tricks of the writing and publishing biz. There’s time spent quietly tapping on keyboards, writers diligently working in the same room. You can feel the creative energy.

But you don’t need to go to a hotel to give yourself a writing retreat. Declare a retreat day for yourself. Allow yourself to focus an entire day on your work in progress. Let the dishes pile up in the kitchen sink. Skip the laundry and the errands. Let yourself have a day to write. To breathe. To think. To daydream. Retreat from the world and into your work.

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